How To Find Safe Summer Activities For High Risk Seniors
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Though many summer activities have reopened, the risk of COVID-19 exposure in Utah is higher than ever. Older Utahns are at extremely high risk of complications, so finding rewarding activities this summer can be tricky.
Having fun and staying safe just takes a little ingenuity.
Carol Jenson has a new grandbaby, but at her age, 79, she’s being extra careful.
“I’ve only seen the little guy twice, which is just killing me,” said Jenson, who lives in Midvale.
Her husband has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), so she’s mostly staying home during the pandemic. She’s wise to be cautious, said Dr. Mark Supiano, Chief, Division of Geriatrics, University of Utah Health.
“The older you are and the more chronic conditions you have, it would follow that you are at even greater risk,” said Supiano.
About half the people being treated for COVID-19 in Utah hospitals, 47 percent, are over age 65. Of the 290 COVID-19 deaths in the state, 179 have been people 65 years and older – that’s 69 percent.
“Being the ‘out and abouter,’ it’s been really hard,” Jenson said.
Paul Leggett, division director with Salt Lake County Aging and Adult services said there are many ways to have fun and stay active without going out. With senior centers closed, they are putting more activities online.
“They can log on, and they can pick, ‘Well, I want to be a part of this guitar class, or I want to be part of this craft class,” Leggett said.
While travel isn’t a good option right now, get creative.
“Watching documentaries about the place they’re going to, learning about the culture, taking some online classes, learning to cook some food from that area,” Leggett recommended.
Enjoying time outdoors can also be safe, if you wear a mask and stay away from crowds. Take a walk or go on a hike. Jenson goes golfing with friends every Wednesday at Nibley Park Golf Course in Salt Lake City.
“Every week. Can’t wait to play,” Jenson said.
Even when the game is frustrating, she believes the rewards are worth it.
“It gives me a focus, and a chance to be out in the air with friends,” she said.
For more information about free and safe activities, visit slco.org/aging-adultservices, or call 385-468-3200.
For help getting groceries and getting to appointments safely, call their hotline at 877-424-4640.
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